Analyzing other options at quarterback for the Jets
By Michael Pallas
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick of the New York Jets has now shown he’s not worthy of the starting job anymore. He’s too inconsistent for Gang Green to keep him as their starter.
Aug 27, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith (7) looks to pass against the New York Giants during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets are better off switching quarterbacks now because it could solve their issues in three ways:
- They can actually develop a quarterback in meaningful regular season games.
- They can see if any of their quarterbacks can’t handle the spotlight in meaningful games.
- Even if the quarterbacks are horrible, they can land a quarterback at the top of the draft.
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Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is just barely good enough to somehow turn this around and get the team into the NFL Playoff hunt. Somehow, though, the team would probably just fall short. If they did that, they would never know if their young quarterbacks are ready for the spotlight.
That would be bad because then they would go into the 2017 season with no idea if their quarterbacks can handle the games. It’d be better for a young player to go into the next season riding the momentum from the last season, even if he starts slowly in 2016.
This is probably why the Jets decided to hold on to four quarterbacks. They needed insurance, just in case of a situation like this.
The Jets are lucky to have four options since most teams generally carry three quarterbacks at the most.
Next: 3. A newly drafted quarterback
Sep 1, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) looks to pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Jets, 14-6. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
3. Christian Hackenberg
The Jets used their second round pick on Hackenberg in this year’s NFL Draft. It was probably a reach, but they felt like they wouldn’t land him in the third round, so they picked him.
Hackenberg didn’t play at all in the first two preseason games, but then he saw action against the New York Giants. The rookie had a mixed performance there, and then again in the game against Philadelphia.
He had accuracy issues in his final two seasons at Penn State, but some think that was merely due to offensive line issues. He was wildly inconsistent in his passes.
Some wonder if his issues are in his head permanently, due to taking all those hits, or if they can be worked out. However, he’s still too raw to put out there unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Next: 2. A quarterback on a mission
Aug 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) drops back to pass with pressure by Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back Jarrod Wilson (47) during the third quarter of a preseason game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
2. Bryce Petty
With the fourth pick of his tenure as Jets’ general manager, Mike Maccagnan selected Bryce Petty. When he was drafted, the Jets knew he’d need work coming from the spread offense at Baylor.
He put up crazy numbers at Baylor, but while he was in college he is accurate with the deep ball and has a high football IQ. So despite coming from a one-read system, he’s capable of picking up offenses and learning how to read through the progressions.
He showed all of this is the preseason, albeit with simpler reads. However, the problem with Petty is that he’s injured at the moment.
The injury report has looked like this for each of the first four weeks of the season:
He at least showed that he’s capable of reading defenses in the preseason. He’d be number one on the list if he was medically cleared to play.
Next: 1. An old friend
1. Geno Smith
The Jets used their No. 34 overall 2013 NFL Draft pick on Geno Smith from West Virginia. He was expected to be a project quarterback coming out of a one-read system in college, like Petty.
However, the Jets went from 6-10 in 2012 to 8-8 in 2013, and expectations began to build around Smith. Despite improving numbers in all major statistical categories, fans, and the organization quickly turned on him after the Jets finished 4-12.
Smith saw a team that went from having a true No. 1 target (Santonio Holmes) to not having a true go-to guy in 2014. Thus, it appeared as if he lost his ability to read defenses.
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He has the arm strength to fit it into the tight windows if need be, and now he has the combination of hands, receivers, and speed threats to take advantage of his arm. He’s never had the talent he has now, and he can prove what he actually is if the Jets give him a shot.